Book Review

DRIVE YOUR PLOW OVER THE BONES OF THE DEAD by Olga Tokarczuk (translated by Antonia Lloyd-Jones)

Rating: 4.5 / 5

When I pulled the reading prompt to pick a book set in a rural area, a friend suggested DRIVE YOUR PLOW OVER THE BONES OF THE DEAD by Olga Tokarczuk (translated by Antonia Lloyd-Jones). I didn’t know much about this one past the fact that it had won a Nobel Prize in Literature, but since it worked perfect for August’s Women in Translation Month and came recommended, I got a copy of the audio from my library!

DRIVE YOUR PLOW OVER THE BONES OF THE DEAD is set in Poland in an appropriately (for my prompt) rural area. We are following Janina who is known to be a bit off, preferring spending time with animals over people in most instances. When her neighbor Big Foot dies, followed by other deaths in the community that are hard to explain, Janina gets drawn into the mystery. She has theories about what is happening, but they are hard to believe and she is easily dismissed by most.

I think this is a good one to go in blind for so I won’t say much more than that about the plot. Janina is a fun character to follow. She is stubborn and opinionated and fiercely eccentric. She’d be just fine isolating at home until COVID is a thing of the past! She studies astrology, translates poetry and assigns people new names rather than bothering to learn their actual names.

This one is described as a “thriller cum fairy tale” and I think that is an apt description though I’d personally say it is more mystery than thriller. There are definitely fantastical elements introduced through Janina and her theories that lend themselves to a fairy tale story, though certainly a dark one with murders to solve.

This was a really fun read and great on audio so I would recommend checking it out!

Reading Challenges:

#AroundTheYearIn52Books: a book set in a rural or sparsely populated area

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